Transport for London (TfL) says that a number of leading brands have expressed an interest in replacing Barclays as sponsor of the capital’s Cycle Hire Scheme from next year, with the tender process formally opened yesterday.
TfL announced at the start of June that it was putting the scheme out to tender, and was inviting bids of at least £5.5 million a year over the seven-year contract period, for a total minimum sponsorship of £37.5 million.
Whoever wins the contract would have naming rights to the scheme, its branding on more than 10,000 hire bikes, and would be able to choose the colour of the scheme’s roundel.
It would also work with TfL to develop the scheme, launched in the city centre in July 2010 and which has since expanded into east and south west London.
TfL has produced a short video showcasing the scheme and what it means to users.
Barclays said late in 2013 that it would ending its sponsorship of the scheme in 2015, although Mayor of London Boris Johnson and TfL have repeatedly claimed that in 2011 that the bank had agreed an extension to 2018 that would take its investment to £50 million from the original £25 million.
Any new contract is expected to be more transparent than the one with Barclays, which has been criticised for containing a commercial confidentiality clause that prevents full details been disclosed in response to Freedom of Information requests, and also enables the bank to claw back money from the planned £25 million investment if usage levels fail to reach target.
In a press release today, Mr Johnson said: "With more than 31 million hires since its launch there can be no doubt that our trusty bicycles have changed the way people get around our great city.
“With a number of top brands already stepping forward to work with us, this really is a unique opportunity for a commercial partner to put their stamp on a mode of London transport that is now as recognisable as our iconic black cabs and red buses.
“We are looking for a sponsor whose aspiration matches our own, one with the passion to take the scheme to the next level and get even more people pedalling."
Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, added: "By formally opening the tender process for a new sponsor, we're at a really exciting point in the evolution of Barclays Cycle Hire.
“Sponsorship of the scheme offers an exceptional opportunity for a leading company to be entwined within the fabric of London.
“Cycle Hire is already part of London's iconic transport network and will give a new commercial partner an exceptional level of exposure for their brand as we develop the scheme further."
More details of the sponsorship opportunities as well as the tender document can be found on the TfL website. The identity of the scheme’s new partner will be announced early in 2015.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.